Over a number of weeks ITV News has broadcast packages about the experiences of social housing residents living in homes with damp, mould and other types of serious disrepair. The programmes have featured residents in both local authority and housing association homes.
Following discussions with its members, the NHF approached ITV to offer a conversation with the journalists working on the series to offer an apology to the residents whose stories ITV had highlighted, talk about the action housing associations have been taking on these challenges, and offer broader context about the housing pressures we face as a country. Part of the interview ITV News did with their Chief Executive, Kate Henderson aired on 24 June. Here is Kate’s full statement in response to the programmes:
“The stories we’ve seen on ITV News are just not acceptable, not only because of the levels of disrepair in these homes, but also because the residents have not felt listened to. I’m sorry that these residents have been let down. They deserve better.
“Housing associations take these issues very seriously, and last year invested £5.7bn in repairs and maintenance. But clearly, as a sector it is vital we learn from what has gone wrong in the cases uncovered by ITV.
“Housing association homes are, overall, better quality than other types of homes. For example, government data shows that around 5% have some kind of damp or mould problems, which is lower than in other types of social homes or in private rented properties.
“It is also important to reflect on the immense pressure the housing system is under across the country. As well as an acute shortage of social homes, some older houses and flats need to be replaced. In some areas whole estates need to be renewed. We want to work with partners in government and local communities to tackles these challenges.
“But there are certain standards that homes must meet, and I have spoken to housing associations across the country that are now taking urgent action on this, as are we at the National Housing Federation.
“There are two things that are happening:
“First, last year the National Housing Federation launched a new set of standards for housing associations. It was developed with residents and allows them to hold their housing association to account. This will take time to roll out, but we believe it will make a real difference and will ensure residents are heard.
“Second, since the ITV News stories have aired we have been working with housing associations in every region of the country to understand what more we in the social housing sector can do to tackle disrepair, including damp and mould. This is part of our commitment to work closely with the ongoing review by the housing ombudsman to develop practical solutions to put things right.”